If there were one piece of advice I could give partners today, it would be to get the skills you need to help your customers manage their own digital transformation. That's why I'm excited to tell you about new Azure training opportunities, with more ways to build your skills in a style that works for you.

I can't overstate the role that cloud skills will play in digital transformation. In the 2017 IDC white paper, sponsored by Microsoft, Cloud Skills and Organizational Influence: How Cloud Skills Are Accelerating the Careers of IT Professionals, a study of more than 500 IT pros revealed that individuals with even one cloud certification are 35 percent more influential during cloud deployments. The same white paper projects that over the next 24 months, staffing for cloud services will become a strategic driver for IT.

New Azure learning resources for a growing market

We knew we were on to something a year ago when we launched our first set of Azure massively open online courses (MOOCs). Partners responded globally with more than 162,000 enrolled as of July in these free, self-paced courses on Open edX. That Azure training momentum continues today with several new courses and new ways to learn.